Not the Sign You Want to See in Front of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland
Apparently the Haunted Mansion's transformation draws a crowd. They set up the FastPass system for the ride during this time of year. April and I were able to get a new FastPass at 8:55 (that's when our Star Tours FastPass became active -- always acquire a new FastPass as soon as you're eligible to do so):
My phone's camera remains less-than-state-of-the-art when it comes to close-ups. Or maybe I just haven't figured out how to use it properly yet. Probably the latter. We had 40 minutes to wait before we could do Haunted.
With our fears of Pirates' closure confirmed (the Disneyland app on our phones had already claimed the ride was closed) we decided to fill the time with:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad remains a thrilling ride, even to an often zealous coaster junky such as myself raised on the 60, 80, and 120 mile per hour rides at Cedar Point. I think it's the fairly loose lapbar and the sliding around sensation which ups the thrills some. You know consciously that you're in no danger of being flung out of the ride, but your mind just feels it at a base level. (Modern coasters with their over-the-shoulders restraints don't have this.) In that way the ride is the Disneyland equivalent of waterboarding.
Tucked away in Critter Country behind Splash Mountain is one of the best dark rides in the Park:
Really make a point to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It's such a pleasant, colorful stumble through the most beloved Pooh geography. April and I most like the honey-filled Heffalump and Woozle dream sequence.
By the time we emerged from our giant honeycomb transport on Pooh our FastPasses for Haunted were active.